The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 23 April 2007

Celebration and fun

Rob was offered a job a few weeks ago by a company based in New York full of smart programmers and he is very excited to finally work with competent computer people. This is a bit old news for us, but new to many of you (if you were paying attention, I have sorta alluded to this news in my last few entries). Rob's in the process of obtaining a work visa, and may begin this new job as early as mid-May. He will be working in the company's Tokyo office which would mean that I cannot continue a second year on JET like we originally planned. But no matter - Tokyo would be fun, I'm sure :) We will be spending a few months apart before I can join him in Tokyo, or New York if he begins his 3-month stint in NY before I finish my contract up in August.

Sushi lunch

My parents were still with us in the Noto when Rob was given this job offer (Rob's mum had returned for Australia the day before), so we went out for lunch to celebrate. We were unsure which places were still running because of the earthquake, so we just drove to Ushitsu (the town where I teach) and looked around. Many places were shut, but a small sushi place called Beniya was operating, which was great because my parents could finally have a sushi 'counter' experience where they can observe the chef deftly preparing each sushi.

Not much English is spoken, and the menu were in Japanese, but between our knowledge of hiragana and katakana and my dad's knowledge of the Chinese characters, we managed to decipher the menu and the costs. The chef and his wife were very friendly and personable, and it was cute when the chef took out his dictionary to try and converse with us. I think that personal services like this are perhaps the best kind of service one can offer their customers, which is only possible in small establishments. These are the places that are most memorable to us.

Sazae (snail) was amongst the weird and wonderful new things my parents tried today. I don't think they enjoyed sazae much, but kudos to them for being adventurous enough to give it a go.

We went with the set sushi courses because it would save us the hassle of ordering multiple times to try the different sushi available. We ordered one each of the 1700 yen (~AU$17) and the 3800 yen (~AU38) courses, and two of the 2200 yen (~AU$22) course. The seafood was really fresh and tasty, and we were so full afterwards. (The Japanese names of each sushi are given in the photo descriptions, and to save me from repeating myself, I will only give the English translation once.)

The simplest set for 1700 yen (AU$17) (clockwise from top left): maguro (tuna), ika (squid), ama ebi (sweet prawn), hamachi (young yellowtail), unagi (eel - the only cooked item), engawa (halibut fin muscle), tako (octopus):

For 500 yen extra: (clockwise from top left) maguro, ika, ama ebi, hamachi, sazae (snail), kani (crab), tako and baigai (a type of shellfish):

The largest set course for 3800 yen: (starting from top left in a zigzag manner) maguro, buri-toro (belly of the adult yellowtail), chuu-toro (side belly of the tuna; this cut is between the grades of normal maguro and the pricey toro in terms of colour and price), sazae, kazu no ko (herring roe - kinda crunchy), ama ebi, unagi, ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin 'roe' - it's actually their gonads):

Mawaki Ruins Park

We had a few hours to kill after lunch, so I drove us 15 minutes north around the coast to show my parents the other school in Ogi town that I taught at. The Mawaki Ruins was nearby, and who would have thought that there was a couple hours of fun waiting for us there? The ruins contains artefacts from the Joumon period, an ancient civilisation who created the earliest known ceramics. The Mawaki Ruins park also contains an onsen (hot spring bath) as well as a huge playground.

The ancient artefacts, and the carvings on the logs:

Under a tunnel - looked like we were in something's belly:

Fun in the playground (as my mum would say, my dad's in his second childhood):

There was this long slide that I just had to go on. My dad saw how much fun I had on it, and he jumped on:

That night

Rob taught my parents how to play the Cheat/Bullsh*t cardgame after watching a movie that briefly featured this game. They really enjoyed the game and requested it many times during the remaining few days they were with us.

It was a good day, and all the best to Rob as he sets out on this new venture.

1 comment:

  1. I like your dad - he's cool for trying out new'ish things!!